Those Crazy Brits

unionLet me start off by saying that I am a HUGE Anglophile. I love all things British, always have. The first time I went, I was in London, turned a corner, and there was Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. I burst into tears.

To see this magnificent structure that I have only ever seen in pictures overwhelmed me. I couldn’t believe it was right before my eyes.

Weeping copiously, I said to my friend, “I’m sorry. I’m just so thrilled by all this.” She said, “Don’t worry. I can see you’re having a wonderful time.” Meanwhile, I am almost hyperventilating.

Anyway, here are a few things that just slay me about the Brits:

1. I LOVE the word “whinging.” Americans don’t know what it means, but the next time I go to England, I plan to work it into the conversation every chance I get.

2. Clotted cream. We can’t get it here. A friend came to visit me from London last month, so I went all out and researched how to do a real English tea. I made scones – MADE SCONES! Then, I realized that scones suck without clotted cream and some sort of preserve. So, I followed the directions, put heavy cream in a low oven – for 12 hours!

The end result was a mass of stuff that looked like a white blob with a life of its own. It was sort of undulating at me, daring me. No, I didn’t serve it. The birds enjoyed the scones.

3. Names of towns – seriously, people. What’s up with Booby Dingle?

4. We want to sound like you. Note to Americans – stop it! You will only sound stupid. My friend was there for a matter of hours and sounded like the Queen was her Aunt Betty.

5. A chip sandwich is an actual menu item.

6. Do you guys still ship convicts to Australia? Send them to New Jersey. That’ll fix ’em.

7. Cheese Rolling – Now, I understand this takes place in May in the Cotswolds. The object seems to be rolling a huge wheel of cheese down a hill and trying to catch it. If you win, do you get to keep the cheese?

8. I’m sorry, but I watch a lot of BBC, and there is nothing more depressing than you people at the beach. The weather is always cold and raw, and there is no actual sand. The Atlantic always looks gray and foreboding, but God love ya – you’re going to catch some rays if it kills you.

There always seems to be a sad little amusement venue and a fish and chip shop gasping its last. Also, a lot of people bundled up in wheelchairs.

9. Morris Dancing – don’t even get me started.

10. Marmite. Yeah, I said it. Really?

11. Cricket – when does it start? And more importantly, when the f**k does it end?

I will probably go and do another post just for the TV and films. How can a people produce such masterpieces as “The Imitation Game” and still get a kick out of Bennie Hill?

Anyway, I love, love, love the British and the country. I can’t wait to go again, this time with my beloved. Maybe we’ll go to the Cotswolds in May. It’s that whole cheese thing.

My Wonderful #1

IMAG0037Today, I would like to talk about my beautiful sister, Carol. We lost her to cancer on October 17, 2015. I think of her every day and feel the loss when I realize that I won’t be calling her in PA after walking the dogs, or texting her during Patriots games.
I refuse get all sappy and maudlin, because she would hate that. And I would hate doing that, spouting platitudes and meaningless accolades. I love and understand her too much for that.
I choose to celebrate her life, to marvel at the person she was, to believe (and I do) that she is still with us. A spirit like that can never be gone. Energy like that can never be destroyed. I know she still guides and inspires me daily. I know that like I know the sun rises in the East.
As she was the first born, I always called her #1, and she was – in every way. She called me Leezie (my middle name is Lee).
Carol didn’t judge. She had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of compassion and understanding, even when circumstances were beyond anything with which she had first-hand knowledge. She felt all should be forgiven and all given a second (or third or fourth) chance.
She had four sisters, five children, many grandchildren, and too many friends to count. She was a brilliant artist with her handwork, quilting, knitting, embroidery, rug braiding. She was a teacher, a coach, a reader, a cook, a walker, an animal rescuer. She maintained a zest for life, even in difficult times. Her interests and hobbies were many, but she always left her mind open to learning – always learning.
Faith means a great many things to a great many people, and she incorporated the Lord’s teachings into her life so totally. She worked hard at it, but she LIVED it. That’s the thing. She lived it. She didn’t talk AT you about it.
#1 was my loyal champion. She knew my faults and accepted that they were a part of me, but she recognized the good as well, and loved me for who I am. When she loved you, she never forsook you. It was a total embrace, flaws and all. We are all works in progress.
Carol inspires me on a daily basis. It was through her that I learned to just let a lot of things go, to experience the enormous freedom that happens when you let go of anger and hurt, the power of forgiveness.  People are going to do what they want to do and think what they want to think. There is nothing you can do about it. The only thing you can change is how you react to them.
One of the best things she ever said was, “Don’t go where you are tolerated, Leezie, go where you are celebrated.” And I do.
She actually made the world a better place. How many people can say that?

A Dish Best Served Cold

revengeNo, it’s not a recipe piece. I’m talking about revenge. Is it worth it? Not worth it? I guess it all depends on what has been done to whom. I am personally in the school of thought that preaches that living well truly is the best revenge. Let the sons of bitches and naysayers stew that you are still standing. I say, screw ’em.

But enough about me.

Just recently, Tom and I watched a British show, called “Injustice.” What a great show, and it made me start thinking about the concept of revenge.

Years ago, I saw a talk show (Mike Douglas? Merv?) and the guest had written a book on things people have done for revenge. My fave rave was this one: A Hollywood director had tired of his live-in girlfriend. He had to go to Europe for a film shoot and told her before he left that when he returned, he wanted her gone. Any signs of her, gone.

In short order, it dawned on him that it was a monumentally stupid thing to do because she could have trashed his house, stolen stuff, burned it down to the ground. So, he called a friend to go over, look through the windows for any damage, and just keep an eye on the house in general.

When he returned, all seemed in order, but as he toured the rooms, he heard very faint voices. He finally located the source. It seems that the young lady had dialed the time in Hong Kong and left the phone off the hook. It had been a call lasting for weeks, and the guy had to pay a bill of something like $36,000. Probably over $100,000 today. Brilliant!

I have never personally resorted to revenge in any MAJOR sort of way, but I do love that whole vigilante vibe when it is warranted.

And who decides if it’s warranted? I do. In my head. So, while I wouldn’t condone violence, I do love stories of retribution.

Note: The Count of Monte Cristo remains one of my favorite books of all time – the ultimate story of premeditated revenge. Awesome book. I must have read it a dozen times over the years.

Here are a couple that I have personally known about, and in which, I may or may not have assisted.

A very close personal friend of mine was leaving XYZ Inc, of which I have previously spoken in another post. If you read it, you won’t be surprised by this. She had been a model employee, taking on all sorts of extra duties because she was very competent and helpful. Her reward for this was more work and more abuse from more people to whom she had to report.

She eventually got fed up, sent out resumes, and found another job. During her two-week notice, she was told to set up a cocktail reception for prospective investors. The spread included a huge bowl of champagne/vodka punch, which I think was supposed to make our product look better than it was.

Anyway, upon set-up, my friend added a large dose of tincture of gentian to the punch bowl. I looked it up on WebMD, and it does have a lot of health benefits, but it also turns your urine blue. Sometimes green.

Now, I can see how bright blue pee would be disconcerting to anyone. Or even green. The party ended fairly early. I volunteered to stay and clean up, purely for the fun of watching people leave the restrooms. The faces were priceless. I wish we had cell phones in those days.

One friend of a friend left her company after an unpleasant experience of sexual discrimination. She truly deserved a promotion for which she was eminently qualified. They had passed her over for a member of the boys’ club who was a total moron. So, she decided to move on.

In her office, the cubicles were made of that white piping with caps. She stayed late on her last night to “tie up loose ends.” She popped the cap off of every single corner of every single cubicle, and dropped an egg in each one. The company spent a fortune finding the problem and gutting the entire purchasing department.

In that same vein, another girlfriend, who was unceremoniously dumped by her creep of a boyfriend, broke into the other woman’s house (where the creep was living) and put a hunk of Limburger cheese in all the light fixtures.

Now, I had never personally smelled Limburger cheese, and I don’t even know where she got it. But since I was driving the getaway car, I got to smell it. I can only describe it as a cross between trenchfoot and terminal flatulence.

Smell it once and marvel that at some point in history, someone smelled this and thought it a good idea to put it in their mouth.

My college roommate once went to a shoe repair shop, bought a biggest heel she could find, wrapped it with a note that said, “Roses are red, and so is your blood.” Yikes! She’s an eye surgeon now.

All in all, even if you don’t do anything about someone who done you wrong, just letting them know that you are still around and doing fine is all you need. Sometimes.

 

 

Baking Bad

cook

I am a terrible baker. I can rock a flaky pie crust like nobody’s business, but aside from that, my baked goods suck. Whenever a recipe has certain words, there won’t be a happy ending. Like these:

1. Grease and flour – anything

2. Room temperature butter. What the hell temperature are people’s rooms?! My butter stays hard as a rock unless it’s August, when I’m not preheating that oven for nobody.

3. Unsalted butter. Then, there is always salt listed in the recipe. It makes no sense to me. Like DNA.

4. Any kind of peaks – do we ever really know if a peak is sufficiently stiff?

5. Yeast – we’ve never been close.

6. Fold in gently – I am a nervous wreck. No matter how gently I fold, those little bastards are deflating by the nanosecond.

I just don’t need the pressure.

Freud said that the definition of insanity is to repeat the same behavior, while hoping for a different result. I must be out of my mind, because every 6 months or so, I give it another whirl.

I haven’t baked since Thanksgiving, so it’s time for my semi-annual baked good fiasco. Mercury must be in retrograde or something.

So, today I am once again Baking Bad, and want you to come along. If you see anything untoward, let me know.

My friend took me out for dinner, and we had cardamom ice cream for dessert. Cardamom!!! Who knew? Not me. It was just the loveliest flavors EVER! So, today, we shall attempt

Orange Cardamom Yogurt Cake – here are the ingredients: Now let’s get into the kitchen and rattle them pots and pans, shall we?

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Pan – buttered and floured, excess tapped out – check

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Flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, whisked in bowl – check

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Orange zest grated – check

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It’s batter – and we’re goin’ in – check

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Overdone. I was on the phone – checkIMAG0332

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Taste test – eh. Not too exciting. I can’t taste the cardamom and it needs a glaze. Grand Marnier will do wonders.

PS – it did.

It’s Just A Matter Of Time

 

 

 

porch-rocking-chairs-103This blog has gone in a different direction than originally intended. Instead of it being instructional or a forum for the older person, it has become the ruminations of my life, and I realize that I am on a greased pole to geezerhood.

If I had a bigger porch, I would have a rocker on it and sit out and whittle little animals out of soap.

It’s going to be a short ride to waving a cane and yelling, “Get off my lawn, you damn kids!” I’m kind of looking forward to it.

When I started this blog, it was with the intention of bringing about awareness. I wanted writing it to be a therapeutic tool. I wanted to share the reality of retirement and its challenges with others, and perhaps hear other experiences. I wanted to let others know that they have not been put out to pasture, that life is not done with them yet.

The last ten years or so have been brutal, and I got so tired of trying. I was so drained, comatose, with not one shred of fight left. Gone, or so I thought.

However, I was blessed, so very blessed with support and love. Some of my loved ones were always there for me. Some, not so much. It has been a learning experience, and not always a good one. No matter how jaded you think you have become, you find that you can still be devastated by someone’s cruelty, judgement, or abandonment. For your own protection, ennui becomes your friend.

Whenever that has happened to me, I actually am embarrassed. I think I have been through enough to know better, to trust less, to question more, to not be tricked again. And yet, I can still be brought up short by something I witness or hear of or experience myself.

I am not much wiser in my dotage, but I do know this. For all the physical and mental problems you may face, FIGHT. And keep on fighting.

If you look, you will find that you do have love in your life. I hope that includes love of self, and THAT, my friend, is what is worth fighting for.

A Little Knowledge Really Is A Dangerous Thing

 

Thai flagWhen I worked in the city, I took the train everyday. Over the years, I became friendly with a group of women who took the same train. We would chat and occasionally go for coffee or a drink after work. In this group, there was a woman named Jeannie. She swore she never cooked. Ever.
I asked her how she managed to raise three children to adulthood, but she said she only bought stuff frozen, boxed, or ready-made.
Once she told me that she had made a BLT, so I jumped on her with, “So, you must have made bacon.” No. She used Bacos. Bacos! Those awful-tasting bits of simulated nastiness that are supposed to pass for bacon in salads or on baked potatoes. She may as well have used Beggin’ Strips.
It came to pass that Jeannie’s son became engaged to a young lady from Thailand. It being traditional that the groom’s family host the rehearsal dinner, we just assumed that it would be held in a restaurant.
Jeannie told us that in an effort to please the fiance and her parents, who were here from Thailand for the wedding, she was going to have Thai food. Now, our little town has two excellent Thai restaurants, so we thought, what a nice idea. The bride’s family would surely appreciate the gesture, and enjoy the food and ambiance.
We were not prepared for Jeannie’s announcement that she herself was going to do the cooking. What? We all thought she was kidding, and laughed uproariously. Jeannie’s idea of going all out was toasting an Eggo, not just thawing it.
She wasn’t kidding.
In the words of Mary, another member of the Train Gang, “What the (bleep) are you thinking, Jeannie?”
Her rejoinder was, “Well, Janet says if you can read, you can cook.” All (accusing) eyes turned to me.
Well, yes. I had said that once or twice. I knew that somehow, this debacle in the making was going to be my fault. Scene closes.
Note: I’m no Julia Child, but I am a competent home cook, enjoy doing it, and have been for 40+ years. Even so, I would never dream of preparing a meal for a large crowd, knowing nothing about the techniques or ingredients of another culture.
Scene opens. Jeannie’s back yard. The Train Gang had been invited to this event, much to our chagrin. Jeannie said she wanted us to come for “moral support.”
The yard did look lovely. There were candles floating in the pool with flowers around the bases and torches for lighting. There was a nice bar with some fruit, cheese, and assorted crackers (from Stop & Shop.) Cocktail hour went really well, and everyone was enjoying themselves until the buffet table was laid and all were called to dig in.
Now, I could make this story a lot longer, but won’t. I’ll just come out and say it. It was the Hindenburg of meals. Jeannie presided at the head of the table, serving people. She had made Thai sticky rice and had decided to pack it in loaf pans. The operative word here is “pack.” She unmolded them for ease of serving. Have you ever had a slice of rice? You haven’t lived.
Next stop – curry! Two kinds! The first one was red, and Jeannie said it may be “a little spicy.” I don’t know what was in it, but it must never be allowed in the hands of America’s enemies. It gave new meaning to the term, “not a dry eye in the house.” There was no full-on weeping, but tears were shed.
Oh boy, another kind of curry! This was he sweet one. Jeannie had discovered the whole sweet-salty-sour-bitter balance thing and this was to counterbalance the heat of the other curry. She had doubled up on the pineapple concentrate and condensed coconut milk.
If you weren’t already crying from the red one, you could have gone into a hyperglycemic shock from the white one. In the name of all that is holy, give me another slice of rice!!
I wish I could report that no one got hurt, but Jeannie was unaware that if you are working with peppers that are really hot, you have to be careful about touching your eye area. One half of her head was bandaged as the capsaicin had temporarily blinded her in one eye.
The wedding was the next day, and although the swelling had gone down somewhat, the blisters were still weeping and she had to keep the bandage over it. Leaking pus can be very off-putting in a receiving line.
 Her solution was to borrow this very elaborate hat from Mary. It had flowers and a veil, which she tilted rather rakishly, I thought.
The doctor at the emergency clinic had prescribed some pretty powerful pain meds, so to get a mental picture, think of Bluebeard celebrating Gay Pride Day, stoned out of his mind. That’s the most accurate description I can think of.
Oh, well – the wedding went off without a hitch, and Jeannie did regain full sight in that eye. So, all’s well that ends well, but I’ll bet that dinner was the talk of Bangkok for some time.

The Power of Martha

marthaAs you all probably know, Martha fascinates me. BTW, have you noticed she’s just known as Martha now – like Cher or Madonna.

Anyway, I was watching one of her old shows on some crazy channel last week. Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I saw her fold a fitted sheet. Have you ever seen her do that? It’s witchcraft, I tell you. It cannot be done by a mere mortal.

In the same show, she created a cake for a child’s birthday party. The theme was old McDonald’s farm, and Martha showed us how to carve little cabbages and tomatoes – a good variety of produce, really- out of marzipan and how to hand-paint each piece.

It is one of the highest forms of insanity I have ever witnessed, and yet I could not look away. Who does this???!! What kind of person would carve vegetables out of almond paste and then tint them? For a child. I mean, you had to see this thing to believe it. It’s probably on YouTube.

The cabbages alone were tiny masterpieces. She didn’t just roll little green balls, no. They had individual leaves, with different shades of green. And don’t even get me started on the rutabagas.

The first time I ever saw her was on a PBS special about 30 years ago. She had a Thanksgiving special, and no one had ever heard of her. I watched this show with a friend. We went back and forth between disbelief and HOWLING with laughter.

She opened the show by telling us not to think we couldn’t have a crowd over because we didn’t have room. Improvise. Martha twinkled when told us that SHE was using the old tobacco barn behind her house.

Now, why the hell didn’t I think of that? Of course, I should have been using the old tobacco barn behind my house all this time. Problem solved. Dinnerware?

It seems that Martha has a special pantry just for her turkey crap. Really. Turkey platters, turkey carvings, turkey bowls, turkey napkins, turkey gravy boats, turkey molds – any one of which is worth more than my car.

She was like this strange, but mesmerizing bird, doing things so outrageous, things that no one would think of doing.

She was separating the skin from the breast of the turkey with her hand, and there was something almost sexual about it. She was doing it so that she could put herbal butter under the skin and also leaves of the herb to make a pattern. It was disturbing, yet compelling.

In retrospect, she had me when she wrapped one of the turkeys in puff pastry, and decorated it with “botanically correct” puff pastry leaves. I was hooked, and disappointed when the show ended.

We laughed, we cried, Martha became a part of us. Why? Because she believes so totally in what she is doing, whatever she is doing. No detail is too minor. No shortcuts tolerated. She doesn’t just visit a cranberry bog, Martha is out there, raking them in.

She is a media Megatron and she worked damn hard to get there.

Someday, I’m going to do some zany project of hers. She actually, and I am NOT kidding, had me thinking of what would be involved in beekeeping.

That’s the power of Martha.

 

 

 

There Are Places I Remember – The Beatles

BeatlesI recently ran into a former coworker with whom I worked at a place that would not exist today.  No one, but no one, would have hired anyone who worked there. Including me.

It was my first real job, having spent a year “languishing in NY”, as my father put it. I went in, applied for whatever they had, and they hired me for what they had  – accounts payable.

I didn’t know what accounts payable meant. No, really, I didn’t know what it meant. That’s what I mean. It was like they had a job, I showed up. Voila! Employment!

They teamed me with a young woman named Angie. Angie started each new day with good intentions, to return calls, to file, to schedule invoices to pay, code expenses, but you know what? Life at XYZ Inc. was just too damn much fun. The people who worked there were all characters, and the management was even wackier.

Put it this way, the treasurer never had cash in the safe because he had loaned it all out to us on nights we were going out to party and had no cash. Oh, we signed chits and all, but if he didn’t get all bent out of shape about it, we could live with it.

Eventually, Angie and XYZ Inc. parted ways, as she had gotten stoned on the way to the bank to deposit the checks, and stopped for a couple of cold ones on the way back. In her defense, it was a hot day. I think the real sticking point was that it was 10 o’clock in the morning. The afternoon probably would have been more acceptable.

As enjoyable as our time together was, she had taught me nothing, because she didn’t really know anything. Hence, I knew nothing. So, with her sudden departure, I was totally alone to figure out what I was supposed to do.

First, checks still had to be deposited daily, so not only did I have to learn accounts payable PDQ, the powers that be decided that all bank runs were going to be with Charlie, our security guard.

Charlie was about 85 and loved our road trips. These breaks from his routine were great with him. I don’t know what the advantages to my safety or to the security of the company’s money were supposed to be. I had always suspected that if I had said, “You know what, Charlie, lets take this money and fly to Vegas,” he would have said, “Let’s book first class!”

On our rides to the bank, Charlie would hang out the window and yell stuff to people like “Hi, there!” or “Have a nice day!” In the bank, he once hid behind marble column to make bird noises. I used to pretend I didn’t know him until I had to pull him out by the ear one day when I found him scamming free coffee and Danish in a board meeting.

Charlie had many self-appointed responsibilities, but none as personally meaningful to him as keeping the front lot clear of unauthorized personnel. Only managers and visitors could park there. All others had to use the less-convenient lot across the street. He watched that lot like a hawk, and was on that intercom like lightening with an announcement to move any unauthorized vehicles immediately. Rarely did he get a car brand name correct.

Example:

Charlie: Attention- this is security! There is a blue Cutlet in the front lot. Would the owner remove it immediately?

Us: Chris! Move the Cutlet!

Charlie: There is a red Pontiac Fireball in the front lot. Now, I know who you are. You’re that black man who went up to the third floor.

Us: (Cringe)

One of the guys in QC got so good at imitating Charlie on the intercom, that he would occasionally make an announcement, like,

Attention: This is security – there is a spaceship in the front lot. Now, I know who you are. You’re those little green men who ran up to the third floor.

Charlie loved the microphone/intercom. I don’t know if it is because we didn’t allow him to have a gun, and it was a substitute, or it was just he was lonely and like to talk. But I think I speak for the majority of my XYZ Inc. colleagues when I say that the highlight of many a day was Charlie’s public service announcement.

Allow me to share just a few:

–          This is security Stay clean! It’s important! If anyone wants to talk to me privately, I’m in the lobby.

–          This is security. I heard that office supply expense is way up, so stop using so much stuff.

– This is security. Somebody stole my hat. Now, it’s not the hat I’m so worried about, it’s the badge. Return it, no questions asked.

–          This is security. The word is that someone on the second floor is going to have a baby! Congratulations, Debby! Your secret is out!

I am glad I left there before Charlie did. The day I left, Charlie saluted me, and my eyes filled up. You just don’t forget someone like that.

Martha, Martha, Martha………

pretend
Do you ever watch the cooking shows and say, “I can do that!”, only to have your final product look like something the cat yakked up? I have, and frankly, it annoys the hell out of me. Things that are not easy shouldn’t be made to look easy.
It’s like watching exercise tapes at home. Do you remember when Jane Fonda started the whole fitness craze with her videos? We all bought them and tried to do what Jane was doing effortlessly. She never had a hair out of place and her makeup remained flawless, while we looked like chain gang members – after work.
Then, she would say, “Feel the burn. Love the burn.”
If there is one amongst you who can say that you never screamed, “FUCK YOU, JANE!” at the TV, I’d say you are lying.
Same thing with cooking.
Martha Stewart done me wrong this past Christmas, and I hold her personally responsible for the failure of the Cauliflower Chestnut Gratin.
First, let me say that I have the utmost respect for Martha. The amount of knowledge she has is just astounding – food, history, travel, crafts, home goods, art, handwork, animals, gardening, antiques, running an empire. It boggles the mind to think of how much she knows about so many things.
I know people say she is a real beeyotch, and I think that’s true. But you know what? They wouldn’t say that about a man. They would call him brilliant.
Anyway, Martha whipped up this beautiful dish right before Christmas, and I said to myself, “What could be more Christmas-y than roasted chestnuts?”
Ever roast a chestnut? Here’s what Martha says to do.
First, using a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference. Check
After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a chestnut roasting pan or a rimmed baking pan, and roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes. Check.
chestnuts
While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. No check.
You’re done! Warm chestnuts are delicious by themselves, but you can also use them in these decadent holiday desserts and hearty soups.
Martha, you lie! Not only did I almost lose a digit while scoring them, the skin was no where near papery, and they resisted my efforts totally. My advice? Lay them on your driveway and run over them a couple of times. They may still resist, but keep at it.
When I finally got them peeled, I had my cauliflower steamed, the Gruyere grated, shallots and garlic chopped, nutmeg freshly grated, heavy cream and white wine assembled, and into the oven it went. It was supposed to look like this:
Gratin
I don’t have a picture of what it actually looked like because I don’t want record of it anywhere. Let’s just say it didn’t look like the picture.
As for taste, it was one of the worst things I have ever tasted. I mean bad, like it should have come with a warning from the Surgeon General.
That’s it for now, bad things are happening later – it’s time for me to make my semi-annual stab at baking!

Is The Honeymoon Over?

Romantic    In just a few days, Tom and I will have been married for 22 years. He is truly the greatest blessing in my life, and I thank God for him daily. Of course we occasionally argue. We get annoyed at each other and may not speak for a few hours. We’re married. We’re human.

But, for the most part, we are each other’s rocks and each other’s biggest fan, supporter, caregiver, friend. We love each other.

Usually, we remember the day with a nice card, maybe some flowers, and call it a day.

This year, since we have a gift card to a very nice restaurant in Boston, we are going to take a stab at GOING OUT! The last time we did that, it was 15 years ago.

We had been married for 7 years, and decided to go to our favorite restaurant. It is no longer there, but it was a wonderful place; very old-school with wonderful food and a great cocktail lounge with a piano player who sang Gershwin and Cole Porter. There were more candles in there than a Midnight Mass, and the ambiance was great.

I don’t get out much, so I was really excited to be having a date with my husband. I bought a pretty cocktail dress, shoes that were sexy, but stopped just short of slutty, got my hair highlighted, had my eyes done by the lady at Macy’s. In short, I was loaded for bear.

We arrived a bit before our reservation so we could enjoy a drink in the lounge before dinner. We sat at a secluded table and after our drinks were served and some chit-chat, Tom leaned across the table, looked deeply in my eyes, and at that point, I’m thinking that girlfriend has it goin’ on and this is going to be sexxxxxy!

He said, “I wonder what the soup is.”

We’ll see how it goes this year.